And for Australian retailers they have faced some of the toughest challenges with forced closures, supply chain disruptions and consumers who have felt wary spending in a global pandemic.

If 2020 was the year of the pivot then 2021 is the year for rebuilding, resetting and growth. We’ve put together our top 7 tips to help with your retail businesses rebuild.

1. Triage your bricks and mortar store

Take stock of the current landscape. What are your competitors doing? What are you doing differently to 2020 and years prior? Are there any opportunities you could be capitalising on?

By forecasting scenarios you can make an assessment of your businesses sustainability in challenging times. Although no retailer wants to promote a competitor, in the case of supply chain shortages you may need to collaborate to share delivery costs and keep operating.

2. Have a crisis management plan in place

After facing an unprecedented year, business owners are now very familiar with having to pivot in unfamiliar times. Now that you’ve triaged your store and identified your current landscape you can create a crisis management plan to prepare for times of distress.

A key part of your crisis management would be to take a Control Tower approach, also known as a Single Source of Truth that contains all relevant information to help you make effective decisions fast.

Accept that a fresh outbreak or third wave could have impacts on supply constraints, decline in consumer confidence and potential staff shortages. With your complete crisis management plan in hand, your business will be in the best position to weather fresh challenges.

3. Deliver on digital offerings

Customers demand for digital shopping and home delivery or contactless pickup exploded throughout 2020. Now that customers have tasted digital and on-demand services they are unlikely to turn back.

Ensure your systems can handle a large spike in traffic, optimise your online offerings and ensure your delivery chain is as seamless and contactless as possible. Have you implemented click-and-collect? How can you ensure it’s a quick and seamless process for your customers. Help them capitalise on convenience and keep them coming back.

4. Reward loyalty

Your customers have spent their money supporting your store in a time where there are multiple options available and customers are perhaps more discerning with their funds. Reward your customers with special offers, thank yous, limited specials and a points system just for your members.

People will reflect back on lockdown and will remember how they were treated. Your customer service will be a consideration for savvy shoppers. Connect to your customer base and give them added value to ensure they keep coming back to your business.

5. Adopt an agile mindset

Agile is a fundamental change to how your business is currently working. This mindset change needs to come from the top. By being an Agile retailer you can serve your customers better and be better able to complete with emerging eCommerce brands.

Agile starts with seeking customer feedback, rapidly generating actions from the feedback, testing and then repeating the cycle. Agile allows processes to change quickly and deliver value faster.

6. Combine the online and in-store marketing spend

Google and Facebook now track in store visits as well as time spent on your eCommerce store or website. By combining your marketing spend to encompass digital and bricks and mortar, you can continue to work towards provable in-store conversion from your ads.

From an in-store customer, who then gets online, you can push your customer back in store through remarketing, email or pushing the hyperlocal in person experience.

7. Be a force for good

People have faced immeasurable and widespread challenges this year, both economically and and personally. Retailers are an important part of their customers lives and are where customers turn for the goods they need. Be a positive force in reassuring customers and the community.

Retailers have an opportunity to make small process changes to benefit the larger community. Perhaps it is placing limits on the number of products that are in high demand or short supply, or going the extra mile for customers with home delivery. Customers remember the retailers and businesses that were there for them during lockdown and will be keen to come back and support local businesses in 2021.

Looking to build your natural and organic ranging or get your products up onto shelves (physical and online) and into the hands of consumers? Head to the Naturally Good Product Directory and list your business today.

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